You Asked For It 5.10c X

 
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Medlicott Dome, Right


Tuolumne Meadows, California USA


Trip Report
I Asked For It-October 13, 2015
Thursday September 7, 2017 7:24am
The appropriately named You Asked For It ascends the widest black streak on the far right end of Medlicott Dome in Tuolumne Meadows. Its three pitches of sustained steep face and slab climbing are protected by only four bolts and a single cam placement. Another bold statement from John Bachar, You Asked For It was the precursor to Medlicottís more famous test piece, The Bachar Yerian, established a month later. These two routes create perfect bookends for the most imposing part of Medlicott, in my estimation Tuolumneís most impressive dome.

Medlicott Dome
Medlicott Dome
Credit: Jon Clark

Admittedly, Iíve got a bit of reverence for Bachar and have been attracted to his routes as long as Iíve been climbing. Not only do many of the lines he chose contain fantastic, difficult climbing, the style in which he demanded you climb some of them in, is the ultimate challenge. There will be chances for retreat, but once you begin, those chances are few. Down climbing, save for a few moves here and there, is generally out of the question.

Iíve come to view You Asked For It and The Bachar Yerian as companion routes. They belong together, and if you climb one, you should climb the other. They both feature hard, extremely dangerous climbing on excellent rock in a specific and sometimes cryptic style. Both are sandbags, even at their current guidebook ratings which have slowly crept up from Bacharís original suggestions (BY was ď10d Bachar," 11c currently and YAFI was ď10a Bachar," 10c currently).

You Asked For It is even more runout than The Bachar Yerian. Itís also more dangerous due to the fact that there is a broad ledge to hit for much of the first pitch. It is not as hard, but it is pretty damn hard. The second pitch is so runout that I suppose it is also possible to hit the ledge at the base of the first pitch if you came off from up high on the second, a grim prospect.

Prior to the attempt, my partner Nancy and I spent about a week climbing in Tuolumne while commuting from Bishop. It always takes some time to acclimatize to the elevation. However, unlike my 2013 prep for The Bachar Yerian I didnít climb any knob routes. I stayed up awhile the night before pouring over the topos as well as a few of the available pictures from the bolt replacement effort in 2009 by Drew Rollins, Greg Barnes, and Karin Wuhrmann. It was hard not to dwell on the fact that Mike Waugh, clearly a very talented climber with multiple ascents of both routes, took a fall in the neighborhood of 100 feet on one of the slab pitches, cracking his skull in the process.

We arrived at the parking lot on a cool, crisp morning the following day after a holiday weekend. There was one other car there; its lone occupant was headed up to TR solo The Bachar Yerian in preparation for another lead attempt. He broke his ribs in 2009 during a massive fall off of the second pitch. Despite his injuries he was back. The allure of the route is powerful. I understand the desire fully, experiencing my own epic failure on it in 2012 yet compelled to return the following year. After chatting awhile, we headed up to the dome arriving at the base a short while later.

The main event starts roughly 160 feet off the ground from a long, broad ledge. There are two options for the approach pitch. The first climbs the black streak directly on poor rock with poor protection. Initially choosing this, I wandered this way and that, and eventually cleaned my pro and down climbed. Iíd gotten some cams behind hollow grainy flakes and wasnít really sure which way to go. The climbing wasnít very good and I didnít want to waste any more time and energy on it. I would need that later. We moved camp to the right and I motored up an easy left rising flake to the ledge below a very steep wall.

While bringing Nancy up, I worked on locating the first pitchís two protection bolts. The first is fifteen feet up while the second is forty-five feet off the ledge. I visualized the path and then stopped looking. I needed to psyche up and not get psyched out. The first bolt is the bait, getting to the second without decking is the challenge, and clipping it is the reward.
Hard, off-balance moves immediately off the ledge lead to a tenuous stance. A tricky cross over followed by a few cranker moves and I arrived at bolt one.

Bolt one, pitch one: photo by Nancy Joseph
Bolt one, pitch one: photo by Nancy Joseph
Credit: Jon Clark

After a body length and a half I was back in the ledge out zone. If I were to come off in this section, at a minimum, I would be severely injured. I composed myself and focused only on the moves, testing knobs, calculating and patiently making upward progress. Relieved, I clipped the second bolt.

At bolt two, out of the death zone: photo by Nancy Joseph
At bolt two, out of the death zone: photo by Nancy Joseph
Credit: Jon Clark

The sun started to hit the face and was directly overhead making it difficult to see. The holds now weave to the right, slowly easing to secure edges. The difficulty mercifully backs off incrementally on the way to the belay on a comfortable ledge.

Again, while bringing Nancy up I worked on spotting the lone protection bolt. It glinted in the sun about forty feet above. As I started up, I wondered where all of the holds went. The first pitch has holds to crank on, but this pitch was all about insecure slab climbing. Delicate sequence after delicate sequence brought me to the bolt. Fifteen feet above the bolt and unsure of where to go I started to think, ďMan, this is a really bad idea."

I seriously considered down climbing and backing off. My feet were numbing out, and I wasnít sure if my right foot was starting to grease off. I rocked back and forth and a bit of life returned to my feet. I decided to commit to a few more moves. Using a fingernail crimp and a dynamic right foot rock up I gained another miserable stance. There was no backing off now. Cautiously, I crept and scratched my way up another twenty-five unprotected feet to a good hold. I mantled it to a stance ten feet below the belay. There was a decent knob just out of reach. Resigning myself to the fact that there wasnít a bolt despite the easy drilling stance (I had asked for it after all), I performed a no hands smear step, snatched the lone knob, and cranked to the belay.

Pitch two complete, one bolt in 100 feet: photo by Nancy Joseph
Pitch two complete, one bolt in 100 feet: photo by Nancy Joseph
Credit: Jon Clark

At the belay with one more pitch looming above Nancy asked, ďDo you want to keep going?Ē

ďOf course, we have to!Ē I replied only to later find myself again muttering, ďMan, this is a really bad idea.Ē

You canít see the only protection bolt on pitch three because the rock bulges above the belay. Unobvious climbing took me right and then back left bringing me above the bulge. The bolt was in sight fifteen feet higher and thirty feet off the belay. I came to a rounded overlap similar to one of the Michelin Manís fat rolls. Unfortunately, the rock is a bit scrappy here and the solid holds are out of reach. I pulled on some suspect knobs and tiptoed to a stance.

More of the same devious business got me to a bizarre hole thirty feet higher. Judging by the amount of moss and dirt I excavated, the route hadnít been climbed in a while. Fortunately, the hole takes a good 3Ē cam.

Nancy following pitch three
Nancy following pitch three
Credit: Jon Clark

Just when I was starting to cruise and have a bit of fun, I was confronted with one more hard sequence fifty feet out, only a few moves from the belay. Instead of moaning, I marveled at Bacharís commitment. Iíd just completed hundreds of similar moves so what was one more? I arrived at the anchor, tied in, sank back and smiled.

This is as far out as I'd ever want to take the runout game. I imagine it'd be similar to going to the moon in1969 or perhaps diffusing a series of bombs. That being said, there is one more Bachar Tuolumne masterpiece that I havenít gotten a chance to look at yet. We planned on hiking in to eyeball it earlier in the trip, but perhaps itís best to let sleeping dogs lie.

Nancy rapping off.  The Bachar Yerian can be seen in the distance.
Nancy rapping off. The Bachar Yerian can be seen in the distance.
Credit: Jon Clark

Relevant Links

ST You Asked For It thread

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/899255/You-asked-for-it-How-many-ascents

Johnny Rock article from Climbing October 1986

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/930925/Johnny-Rock-Classic-Bachar-Interview-Steiger-Climbing-1986




  Trip Report Views: 1,605
Jon Clark
About the Author
Jon Clark is a climber from Philadelphia.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
  Sep 7, 2017 - 08:17am PT
Way to go, Jon. You are in elite company now with regards to leading that route. Thanks for the trip report.

How would you like to do it in EB's?
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  Sep 7, 2017 - 08:32am PT
Jon, I can't really express how impressed I am with your focus and mental fortitude. Your TR's are great reading ('cause I'll never do any of that stuff), but this one tops them all. Or to put it more simply, friggen gnarley dude!
Burnin' Oil

Trad climber
CA
  Sep 7, 2017 - 08:46am PT
Ooooohhhhh man. Proud.

TFPU
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Sep 7, 2017 - 08:47am PT
fantastic TR!!!! thank you for sharing
Friend

climber
  Sep 7, 2017 - 01:12pm PT
Sweet. I'm glad to see this finally shared publicly. Jon's climbing and writing skills are self-evident; he is also one of the funniest people I've ever met. Several times on the drive back from josh I've almost pissed myself laughing so hard.

Keep it up dude.

Jon Clark bouldering the Adirondacks classic, Esthesia. Photo by me
Jon Clark bouldering the Adirondacks classic, Esthesia. Photo by me
Credit: Friend
Burnin' Oil

Trad climber
CA
  Sep 7, 2017 - 11:54am PT
Props to Nancy for belaying that run-out rig.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 7, 2017 - 12:00pm PT
There was no backing off now. Cautiously, I crept and scratched my way up another twenty-five unprotected feet to a good hold. I mantled it to a stance ten feet below the belay. There was a decent knob just out of reach. Resigning myself to the fact that there wasnít a bolt despite the easy drilling stance (I had asked for it after all), I performed a no hands smear step, snatched the lone knob, and cranked to the belay.

Thats the real deal there man. Inspiring. And frightening. Well done.

Scott
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
  Sep 7, 2017 - 12:17pm PT
Wow! What a pleasure to read, though gripping!

TFPU
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
  Sep 7, 2017 - 05:29pm PT
Did this in 1988 with Jeff Webb. We forgot to bring a cam for the hole on the 3rd pitch on my lead. Wild! It took a six pack to tame the post-climb adrenaline twitch. Excellent writeup, thanks for bringing back some intense memories.
L

climber
Tiptoeing through the chilly waters of life
  Sep 7, 2017 - 05:35pm PT
I was sweating the whole read!

Good job!!!
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Sep 7, 2017 - 05:43pm PT
Nice!
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Sep 7, 2017 - 08:44pm PT
Way to red-line it.!

Was the third part of the trifecta? Body and Soul? Solitary Confinement?

Bachar cut it very fine, indeed.
drF

Trad climber
usa
  Sep 8, 2017 - 05:26am PT
Great effort and write-up! Good to see people still climbing these epics.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 8, 2017 - 06:39am PT
Wow....well written, chilling description! I didn't need coffee to wake me up this morning. Fellow Philly boy eh....did my first climb at Stover State Park.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Sep 8, 2017 - 07:12am PT
Thanks!

DMT
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Sep 8, 2017 - 08:35am PT
Wow... I need to chalk up my hands after that.

Yes, John could climb, boy o boy could that man climb.

Good footsteps to follow in.

Thanks for the write up.

Jon Clark

climber
philadelphia
Author's Reply  Sep 9, 2017 - 05:24am PT
Props to Nancy for belaying that run-out rig.

Thank you for pointing that out. It would be difficult to overstate how important the right partner is for these types of routes. Nancy has supported me on a number of these affairs and has always been rock solid. She is an excellent climber and an even better friend.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
  Sep 9, 2017 - 07:12am PT
Great report. I will have to start keeping a bag of chalk by the computer!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 9, 2017 - 10:35am PT
I was scared just reading it!

Thanks!

What shoes did you wear?
Jon Clark

climber
philadelphia
Author's Reply  Sep 10, 2017 - 04:18am PT
What shoes did you wear?

TC Pros

In response to Walleye, while never having had the pleasure of climbing in EBs I can imagine climbing the 1st pitch in them as they apparently edged well. However, the prospect of climbing challenging slab in them would be a different story. As far as I understand, Bachar established both routes before Fires arrived.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Sep 10, 2017 - 05:53am PT
No Nancy boys here!

Doing your part to make Tuolumne climbing great again. :0)

I really like the sequence of three photos on P2, as well,so "Thank you, Nancy."
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 10, 2017 - 07:35am PT
EB edging capabilities were a function of your finger strength.
msiddens

Trad climber
  Sep 10, 2017 - 09:14am PT
Wow mad props
DaveyTree

Trad climber
Fresno
  Sep 11, 2017 - 04:50pm PT
Well done.... I had to chalk up just to type this
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
  Sep 12, 2017 - 08:08am PT
Yes, Jon, you are correct. Bachar did "you Asked For it", "Bachar Yerian", and "Body and Soul"; all in EB's. He did many other routes, also, of course, but those 3 make quite a Tuolumne triumvirate in my opinion.

Thanks again for the TR. BRAVO!
Bargainhunter

climber
  Sep 12, 2017 - 10:01am PT
Outstanding! Thank you for sharing.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Sep 12, 2017 - 12:55pm PT
Wow! I got sewing machine leg and sweaty palms just reading this. Climbing at this level of difficulty and commitment is just nuts. I am very humbly impressed by your efforts.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
  Sep 12, 2017 - 01:02pm PT
Great write-up and achievement! Climbs like this test both halves of the hard-man requirements and not many people measure as well on the 'mind' side of the game. Kudos indeed!
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Sep 12, 2017 - 06:24pm PT
I did not want to read this, but started and then had to finish.
craig morris

Trad climber
la
  Sep 12, 2017 - 06:52pm PT
thanks for taking the time to share this. Yikes
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Photo: Greg Barnes
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